Solvang – a piece of Denmark in California

It was our first new year celebration after marriage and because it is a once in a lifetime experience, we wanted to make it special. We had been looking for a much needed break for our special occasion, and had no great plans in mind, just wanted to stroll around in warm winter sun on the streets of a cozy village.

Why Solvang?. Its location made it a perfect winter escape for us during the new year holiday. Solvang is a small town located in south of California, and roughly 5 hours drive from San Francisco. It’s famous for its Danish culture, in the 1900’s some people originally from Denmark established it.

We decided to take a slower but scenic route to enjoy the day drive. We’ve driven along Pacific coast highway several times earlier also and have never been disappointed. We can make this drive yearly and never get tired of it 😀. Starting from San Francisco bay area till Santa Maria(night stay) includes Monterey, Carmel, the Big Sur Coast, Bixby bridge, Hearst Castle etc. This route takes you through some breathtaking scenery of ocean, cliffs, forests, and sheer beauty of untouched rugged coastline.

Sometime around 8PM we reached Santa Maria, and started for Solvang early in the morning. The first impression of town was totally unexpected, it felt like we were somewhere in northern Europe. A smoky and foggy morning, completely different architecture, markets filled with Danish bakeries, art shops and many options to eat.

Till early afternoon we were just roaming on streets watching vibrant tiny villas, interesting street names and activities going on. Every corridor, street, corner was so colorful that we loved every bit of it.

Now comes the most important part: shopping 😊. Many gifts and souvenir shops are in market stacked with small artifacts related to Danish culture, collectibles, magnets, antiques, apparel and bags etc. Since it was post festival

season, every item was available in sale and we were able to make some good deals.

We ended the Solvang trip with the most cherish memories, big list of new year resolutions and fresh bucket list of places to visit this year. So happy and excited to spend new year trip exactly the way we always planned it. While driving back home, we made a quick stop at Avila Beach to enjoy the first sunset of the year.

Some pointers:-

  • Pacific Coast highway is scenic but slow and windy, and when if it is raining be careful while driving
  • I5 and 101 are faster options while coming from north
  • 1 day trip is sufficient to cover the town
  • Town can be covered end to end on foot, cart and segway tours are also available


Started from San Francisco Bay area
∑ Miles driven 267
∑ Miles walked 2.6
∑ Time spent 5 hrs

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